Is India ready to tackle swine flu?

August 11, 2009

INDIA-FLUWith the number of swine flu fatalities in India touching double figures on Tuesday, panic is slowly setting in.

Schools, malls and cinema halls in Pune are already shut and nearly a thousand people across India have tested positive for the virus.

The H1N1 flu outbreak, declared a pandemic on June 11, has spread around the world since emerging in April and could eventually affect 2 billion people, according to WHO estimates.

But is India ready to tackle the outbreak?

More supplies of flu drug Tamiflu and testing kits are being imported and private hospitals are being asked to help state-run hospitals cope with a surge in people rushing to get tested.

Some also feel that the media hype over swine flu is causing needless fear.

On Tuesday, the Hindustan Times said the common flu could be killing an estimated 572 Indians every day, much more than H1N1 flu — in most cases, infection has been mild and patients have fully recovered.

So is there really cause for panic?


My mom nags me all day. wash your hands, stay away from crowded places. Ok, so the flu is out there, but we can’t stop living normal lives fearing infection. Taking precautions helps but there is a limit to everyhting.

Posted by Natasha | Report as abusive

Natasha….people like u are the main cause for this serious situation. Ask to the mother whos 14 year daughter died because of swine flu. And u r cursing ur mother to be over cautious. Hats of to you.

Posted by Prashant | Report as abusive

Media is putting so much of light on this issue that the Black Virsu has started reflecting without any reasons. Its simple to take care of yourself from this, which are published in WHO and CDC (Center for desease control) but non of the news paper or TV channel has published it. Yes, the government officials are too slow in implementing preventive actions in place. But whats new in that it always happens ONLY IN INDIA. But what happen to all NGOs where are they when people need it more. Hospitals in Pune are another reason which is making people get more panic. Reputed hospitals like LOKMANYA CARE hospital in Nigdi & Chinchwad (suburb of Pune) are ristricting entry to hospital if you do not have your face covered with Mask which is use less untill you are not in Quarentine ward.
The hospitals which are authorized to do check ups in Pune are in such a pathatic shape (in terms of Higine) that if a fit person visits that hospital no matter if he has flu or not he will defenatly get admitted due to vomiting & suffocation. The government should authorize the private sector to pich in and extend help for those who wants to get themselves tested.
We the citizen of Pune have right to live life without panic & no one (Tamilnadu/Gujrat) can say that one should not visit Pune. Its still beautiful as ever, just media and newpapers should keep there mouth shut for few days.
In Pune 18 people die everyday due to AIDS from last 5 years and from last two week 6 people dead from H1N1.
Which one is more harmful….

Kedar Virkar
Citizen Pune

Posted by Kedar Virkar | Report as abusive

India needs to drastically improve its spend on healthcare.


Don’t blame the media. H1N1 is real and it is more aggressive than a common flu. The real issue that it is a type A virus which can undergo an antigenic shift and become more deadly or become resistant to tamiflu or relenza, which are the only anti-viral drugs we currently have to combat it. That can’t happen with a garden variety influenza.

My advice is to model what Japan is doing. They have been much more successful than the U.S. in combating this new virus. At the last report I could get the U.S. had 353 confirmed deaths while Japan had none. It has been in both countries just about as long, although it was in the U.S. slightly longer.

Posted by observing this | Report as abusive

natasha:but u can hold some days friend until the flu becomes very low.yeah i agree with you

Posted by ketan | Report as abusive

If I’m right the only difference between swine flu and any other forms of flu is the rate at which it spreads. Swine Flu i believe spreads at a faster rate. But as said, this is just another FLU.
The undue media attention which run cover stories of people affected by FLU is causing wide spread panic amongst people. Many people view this as a non curable disease.
It would help if atleast one media/news channel takes the responsibility to explain what is this FLU, what causes it and how it can be prevented or treated,
But as always news channels are hell bent on using all available chances to increase their TRP rating be it useless stories like a celebrity getting married or people dying of flu.

Posted by Rahav | Report as abusive

Your mom is right just follow her what she is telling as she is saying the right thing,As its your life and even risk to others near you if you dont take precautions,And life is just once dont waste it.
A little extra precaution can irredicate the pandemic that too along with the medicine, before it comes follow what she says

Posted by sam | Report as abusive

An article from one of English business dailies yesterday’s edition.


SWINE flu in its current form is a relatively mild disease wholly amenable to effective treatment, once detected in time. Any avoidable death is tragic, but seven deaths and a few hundred confirmed infections, in a population of 1.14 billion hardly constitute any ground for panic.
Many more people die of malaria, tuberculosis and other familiar diseases every day in this country of relatively high morbidity, without any commensurate outcry.
The problem would appear to be the official strategy’s as yet tentative shift from the stage of containment of the disease to the next stage of effective diagnosis and treatment on a mass scale. It is welcome that the government proposes to permit retail sales of oseltamivir phosphate, the drug that cures the flu. What remains to be done is to scale up the capacity for clinical testing to nail the H1N1 virus. The government is moving to authorise many more pathological labs both in the public and the private sector, to test for H1N1. However, the number of testing kits available remains limited. Their short supply promises to be a binding constraint, given that most flu patients who approach a doctor are likely to be advised a test for H1N1, as doctors guard against being sued for negligence.
Single minded focus on containment could lead, after disruption of studies now, to disruption of work on a serious scale. That would be silly, for this virus. Move on to diagnosis and treatment on a war footing. y/ml.asp?Ref=RVRCRy8yMDA5LzA4LzExI0FyMDA xMDU=&Mode=HTML&Locale=english-skin-cust om


Immune for all Indians are really at a very high level because we take water, tea, and all the eateries at the road side wherein a foreigner will land up in a hospital if he/she ever dares to try the same.Babies & Kids needs to be careful.People suspecting some symptoms should keep away from them.Media should not over react and market the swine flu masks, tablets and other medicines.Act wisely since you are consider to be responsible.People , do not panic and fear but act wisely eat healthy, be clean and have fun. JK

Posted by john | Report as abusive





Posted by jose pc | Report as abusive

The chief cause for widespread panic is the unwarranted media hype. The TV channels have been portraying the spread of H1N1 as if the end of the world is at hand. When are we going to see some responsible TV journalism.

Posted by Cedric Nazareth | Report as abusive

Take care of U and Ur surroundings, families, relatives.
Flu won’t affect U.

Posted by Incredible27 | Report as abusive

true…. this is real and we shd take care. most of all the people who are infected. they should for their sake and for that of the others, stay away from the others. this will really go a long way. it was sad to see the students from pune, who’s institutes have closed for some days are going to their home towns. why cant they be a little sensible and take care not to spread the virus to other towns.

of course the govt needs to gear up a little more and be sympathetic to the patients, but we as citizens also should take the responsibility for ourself and our near and dear ones. acting selfish at this time will only prove detrimental.

Posted by hemlata | Report as abusive

Hi guys,

Visit the Ministry of Health website and go into the area of swine flue.

They have an “Draft action plan” to fight H1N1 flu. Can you guess the size of the Action plan…… It runs to 132 pages.

No wonder the review and finalisation is not yet over and the Action plan still is in Draft stage whereas the nation is grappling with the pandemic with no clue on how to handle this menace.

India has got 10 milion tabs of Tamiflu. Do not get misled by this figure. This is good enough only for 1 million people as the standard dosage is 2 tabs for 5 days. UK has doses enough to cover 50% of their population. And they are planning to buy more to be prepared for winter (80% coverage is their target).

We are busy here increasing the defense budget by a whopping 30 – 35%. Knowing fully well that its only a matter of time when the pandemic will strike India – what action did GOI take to make available the medicines in sufficient nos. May be they thought that they can fight this pandemic with Guns and missiles and so they increased defense allocations.

Posted by DJM | Report as abusive

Can anybody explain the funda of Tamiflu and its relation with Swine Flu?



may be media is hyping the situation, but it is good for everyones intrest…if media has not hyped it the you can not see 90% people wearing mask…and thats good in this way we are at less risk…if someone who is carrying the virus wearing mask beacuse of media hype….

Posted by prateek | Report as abusive

WE need to be aware and cautious. There is nothing beyond that, just as any other viruses. Ensure healthy and hygienic habits and Long live India. Jai HO

Posted by JOSEPH | Report as abusive

Like someone noted above, there are many diseases, which is killing hundreds of people daily. Nobody cares about them or takes any precaution. One death (Swine Flu) in a state becomes the lead of a major newspaper. In one of the story inside the same newspaper,you can see various models of face masks. It has become a fashion statement. We should not sensationalise anything.

Posted by Zubair Ahmed | Report as abusive

it is a pandemic, not an epidemic. Simple cleanliness and hygiene measures are good enough to limit the contamination. Moreover, there are medicines! All that are lacking – i) wrong info to people by chemists and other pharma people to do HUGE business by selling illegal/fake TAMIFLU, masks etc. ii) Hospitals not adequately clean and iii) No proper channel to get N95 masks, though it should have been a priority by govt.

Posted by Little Indian | Report as abusive

I do believe that govt is reacting in all posiible ways to protect us , but the problem is that many diseases claim more lives than swine flu, but as the who declared it as a pandemic it catches our attention. I believe if the same attention and awareness is created for all the diseases , we will be able to see a much more HEALTHY INDIA

Posted by brainythinker | Report as abusive

Interesting: ine_Flu/Tuberculosis/tuberculosis.html

Is WHO covering up a tuberculosis epidemic with fake H1N1 panic?

By F. William Engdahl, 18 November 2009

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Posted by Siddharth Bargate | Report as abusive

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